Exclusive Q&A with Intelisys President John DeLozier: Joining ScanSource ‘My Dream Job

“I’ve taken a lot of arrows over the years because of my admiration for Intelisys,” DeLozier tells Channel Futures.

John DeLozier is bringing experience from all across the channel to his new position at ScanSource and Intelisys.

Intelisys’ John DeLozier

DeLozier promised a revamped loyalty program and a flexible approach to different partner types.

“We are going to meet partners where they are,” he told Channel Futures.

DeLozier also talked about what it was like partnering with Intelisys from the supplier side. He led CenturyLink’s channel program in addition to 8×8’s channel program, and both jobs put him in direct contact with the Intelisys team. Now he’ll be looking to fine-tune Intelisys’ supplier experience in addition to the experience of its sales partners.

John DeLozier sat down virtually with Channel Futures for an exclusive Q&A about his plans for Intelisys. We have edited the transcript for clarity.

Channel Futures: What made you join Intelisys?

John DeLozier: I have a very long-standing relationship with ScanSource and Intelisys, both before they were joined, and certainly after. And you’ll appreciate this. I know you’ve written so much on millennials. Well, back in those days, you could have written about the young Gen Xers like me. Twenty-five years old at the time, walking through this building and just in awe of ScanSource. Specifically Mike Baur, who back then revolutionized our industry with distribution and all the things that they’ve done for so many years. I owned Avaya’s largest contact center services company, and then I owned one of the Avaya’s largest VARs, so I had a very deep understanding and long-standing relationship with ScanSource.

Once I got onto the supplier side and really jumped into that agency world, that’s when I met Intelisys. Intelisys has always been at the very top of this partner food chain, in terms of anything and everything that they’ve offered. And we’ve been very, very successful together for many years. On my first day on the job at CenturyLink, I walked into Intelisys’ office, and [former Intelisys president] Jay Bradley, said, “Hey, J.D., we need you to sign a nondisclosure.” I literally just met him. A nondisclosure for what? He goes, “Yeah, we’re being purchased.” I go, “Oh, my goodness, that’s awesome. Is it a PE firm, or another technology company?” He goes, “No, we’re being purchased by a company called ScanSource.” I literally almost fell over. I couldn’t believe it. So when we talk about me coming here – every time I’ve walked in this building in the last week and a half, the hair stands up. I still can’t believe how awesome an opportunity it is. And I’m blown away by the company. It’s just fantastic.

CF: Do you remember the first thing Mike Baur said to you back when you were just a whippersnapper?

JD: Mike’s personality is infectious. He’s a mentor for guys like me and a guy you want to be like when you grow up. I don’t remember exactly what he said to me. But I will tell you that then and over the years, he’s always been there for advice and wisdom. And he’s just done business the right way. He’s a man of integrity. He doesn’t lie, cheat or steal, and he doesn’t tolerate anybody that does…

So it’s a pretty, pretty awesome relationship. And I also want to comment on John Eldh. As our global chief revenue officer, this obviously happened because of him. And when John Eldh and Mike Baur both got together to decide who they wanted to bring in as the new president of Intelisys, both of them independently came up with my name, which is both humbling, and exciting.

CF:  You have this firsthand VAR experience and this experience working with agents from the supplier side. Did it seem to you like that they really wanted someone with those two perspectives? Or someone with a supplier perspective?

JD: It was definitely the former. It’s kind of a weird thing. John Eldh says I have one foot in the old world and one foot in the new world. I have been around long enough to know what it was like to do businesses a VAR – you know, suppliers meeting us where we were in the channel and getting out of our way and letting us do our thing. I understand them. I’ve worked with them for many, many years. And then in the new world, from an agency perspective, it’s more opex-related, more SaaS-related for the last five or six years.

So I think they wanted both. And that’s the thing about ScanSource and Intelisys. We are going to meet partners where they are. We have the experience with both. I’m never going to use the word master agency, by the way – but formerly that’s what it was known as – and it is the largest and brightest [master agency].

CF: As someone who does have this unique background on these business models, is there a word you want to use instead of “master agency”? For example, I keep saying “services distributor.”

JD: We’re working on some branding right now. But I will tell you; when I think of our company, I think of us as technology orchestrators. That’s really what we are we. It’s technology orchestration delivered. And for us, whether it’s hardware or software or connectivity or services, it doesn’t matter. We have the experience and the ability to orchestrate that for our partners and deliver it.

CF: What was it like making this transition from 8×8? I know you’ve worked with [new 8×8 channel chief] Bobby Hall for a number of years. What’s it like leaving 8×8’s channel organization in his hands?

JD: I had a great, great run, and a great relationship with not only 8×8 but all of my former employers. I’ve just put that in the rearview mirror. And I’m so excited about what we’re going to do here. I think Bobby will do a great job.

CF: Moving forward, what are some of your short-term and long-term goals for Intelisys and ScanSource?

JD: This orchestration we’re talking about is critically important. A couple of things. The first thing is: obviously, I’ve been here six days. I’m really just figuring out where to park and how to get through the office and meet everybody. But the overall things are very simple. We want to meet partners where they are, period. I don’t care if they decide to go to market as a VAR, if they decide to go to market as an agent. Maybe they’re an MSP. Maybe they’re a system integrator; it doesn’t matter. We’ve got the span of control. We’ve got the “arm,” if you will, in all geographies globally, to meet those partners where they are. So that is the first thing. We’re going to put together freshened up loyalty program for our partners that not only rewards the behavior that we want to see, but [also rewards them for] some of the newer technologies, depending on what they’ve sold or haven’t sold. So you’ll see something like that happen.

And the last thing – and you can imagine me saying this – is that suppliers are as important as our partners. So we want to treat them that way…

… We want to get them excited about our ability to sell their stuff, no matter where the partners are. Those are the underlying, overhanging principles that we’ll follow. And all the rest will take care of itself.

CF: Do you mind digging into what you said about about the supplier experience? You are someone who has a unique perspective on that as someone who has worked with Intelisys for a long time and had a pretty good relationship with Intelisys from two different suppliers. What kind of unique perspective do you bring toward serving those supplier partners?

JD: It’s a good question. First off, nobody in our business – no other company – has the kind of back office that Intelisys has, period. They just don’t. It’s an amazing experience for the partners. It’s amazing experience, quite frankly, for the suppliers. Because of our size and capabilities, we put the right processes and the right people in place to make that experience not only unique, but pretty simple. Now you know that in technology lots can go wrong. And I don’t think it’s a matter of if things go wrong. I think it’s a matter of when they do. How do you react? And I can tell you from the supplier side, even back in my previous position and position before that, I’ve taken a lot of arrows over the years because of my admiration for Intelisys. And that admiration has come from not only their ability to sell, but their ability to support and their customer experience all the way across the board. Obviously, the same applies for ScanSource. So we’re pretty excited. It’s a pleasure, frankly, to now be on this side. And now I understand why those experiences went so well. Because I see the amount of people and processes behind the scenes that make it happen. It’s amazing.

CF: Is there anything else you want to add?

JD: It’s important to note that we’ve made some really key acquisitions over the last four to six years. ScanSource acquired Intelisys in 2016, creating this channel of the future around hybrid distribution. I call us technology orchestrators. That’s really what it is. But since then, we’ve acquired a couple other things. One, we acquired a company called RPM, which is the commissioning platform in our industry, that calculates and pays agency commissions. Most of Intelisys’ competitors use that platform. We love it.

Another one we acquired was a company called intY, which is a cloud services distributor that enables software provisioning, data analytics, team management, billing, support – all of those things. Lastly, on the ScanSource side, we acquired a company called POS portal, which is a leading distributor of payment devices and services, primarily in SMB. My point in mentioning all that to you is that we continue up the game when it comes to the customer and partner experience. And again, it’s very difficult for our competitors to keep up with that. So it’s not just the people, it’s not just the processes. It is about organic growth, but our acquisitions that are very much inorganic have taken the experience up another notch.

CF: And I imagine you can say that from personal experience, having partnered with all these companies in the industry already. You partnered with the competitors, so you’re kind of able to qualitatively say that about Intelisys.

JD: Yeah, I have experience with all of the partner community and many different suppliers. And I can promise you, in my career, I’ve not seen systems, processes and people that can be delivered like we can do it at ScanSource and then Intelisys. It’s second to none. And yeah, you’re right. I am an expert in that field. I can definitely say that confidently.

CF: Is there anything you else you’d like to say?

JD: Thanks for a great discussion as always. I can’t wait to see you at Channel Partners. And hopefully we’ll sit down and do it again.

Over the next six months we’re going to bring to market some really cool, disruptive, innovative things. But the thing I would leave you with is: This is my dream job. And it’s not short-term. It’s anything but, and I cannot wait to connect with all of our partners out there — hopefully live but also virtually — and get to know them better and continue to bring to market technology orchestration delivered. It’s going to be pretty awesome. I’m looking forward to it. Six days feels like two hours. I can’t wait to get it on.